Ceramides are a fantastic ingredient to incorporate into your skin care routine, no matter what type of skin you have – normal, dry, dehydrated, aging, sensitive, you name it. They are a type of lipid that is found in high concentration in the uppermost layers of the skin and are a key ingredient in maintaining and restoring skin barrier function.
They work by acting as a protective layer that prevents trans-epidermal water loss, and shields the skin from environmental aggressors like the sun, air pollution, wind, and hot or cold temperatures. This helps prevent dehydration and premature signs of aging, and because ceramides are a type of fatty acid, also prevents dry skin.
They’re also a skin-identical ingredient, meaning they are naturally present in the skin, which makes them highly suitable for all skin types. Particularly though, these traits make ceramides extra fitting for those with sensitive skin, and those suffering from a damaged skin barrier, eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea.
And although they’re an awesome ingredient that everyone should incorporate into their skin care routine, you’d be surprised how hard it is to find a good ceramide serum or ampoule. The large majority of them are either obscenely expensive, formulated with irritating or highly comedogenic ingredients, or cosmetically inelegant, leaving you looking like a glazed donut. (and not in a good way)
To make your life a little easier, and to help prevent you from wasting your hard-earned money on less-than-stellar products, I’ve put together a list of some of the best ceramide serums and ampoules. I hope it’ll be useful, and will help you find your new Holy Grail product. Let’s get to it!
1. AMPLE:N Ceramide Shot Ampoule
If you’re looking for an affordable serum with an entire formulation centered around ceramides, AMPLE:N’s Ceramide Shot Ampoule is the one I’d recommend.
It’s a hydrating and moisturizing serum with a milky consistency that contains a whopping 50,000ppm ceramides – that’s a lot, and more than almost any serum I’ve ever found. Its formulation is stellar, and I have nothing but good things to say about it.
It contains zero irritating or comedogenic ingredients, and is instead filled with skin soothing ingredients like ceramide 1, ceramide 2, ceramide 3, niacinamide, adenosine, glycerin, butylene glycol, cholesterol, allantoin, and beta-glucan. I have oily/dehydrated/reactive skin, in addition to both eczema and rosacea, and I use this serum daily. I’ve never gotten irritation from it which is seriously saying something considering how sensitive my skin is.
This is my personal favorite serum on this list because of how affordable it is, how effective it is, and how it feels on the skin. It has an almost velvety texture, it softens my skin, it creates a hardy lipid barrier to prevent transepidermal water loss, and it leaves a pleasant dewy finish without being overly oily or moisturizing.
2. Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Serum
Dr. Jart’s Ceramidin skin care line was created to help those with damaged skin restore the function of their skin barriers, and it is well-loved, to say the least. It has cult followers around the world, and Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Serum, in particular, is one that many have claimed as a Holy Grail product.
It’s a deeply moisturizing serum that contains Dr. Jart’s proprietary 5-Cera Complex, which is a blend of all five types of ceramides that are useful in skin care, and is what makes their entire Ceramidin line so special.
The serum is also formulated with a ton of other goodies like alpha-bisabolol, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and a bunch of antioxidant plant extracts like algae extract, turmeric extract, oat extract, artichoke extract, chinaberry flower extract, cocoa seed extract, and a ton more.
3. PURITO Centella Unscented Serum
If you’re looking for a serum that has ceramides in it, but isn’t necessarily centered around them, PURITO’s Centella Unscented Serum is the one for you.
This is actually another favorite serum of mine, and what I enjoy most about it is its hefty concentration of centella asiatica extract (49%) mixed with a bunch of other great ingredients like ceramides, green tea extract, panthenol, niacinamide, madecassic acid, glycerin, and sodium hyaluronate.
If you suffer from diffuse facial redness like I do (thanks rosacea) I sincerely recommend you try this serum. I love, love, love centella asiatica, and it’s one of the few ingredients that has actually made a difference in the overall redness of my complexion. I’ve tried tons of products that contain it, and by far, this is my favorite serum.
Also, PURITO’s Centella Unscented Serum is less moisturizing and more hydrating than the other serums on this list, so if you want something lighter that will absorb into the skin quickly without leaving too much residue, this would be a good choice.
4. Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster
Over the past few years, hyaluronic acid has become the go-to humectant for many companies and consumers. It can retain over 1,000 times its weight in water within the cells of skin, so it’s no surprise why.
If you like hyaluronic acid or are interested in incorporating it into your skincare routine, you can kill two birds with one stone and get Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster With Ceramides which, surprise, surprise, contain ceramides.
The serums main three ingredients are hyaluronic acid, a blend of different ceramides, and panthenol, a substance that’s closely related to vitamin B5 and has unbelievable wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of its other stellar ingredients including cholesterol, glycerin, and adenosine.
5. Dr. Denese SkinScience HydroShield Serum
As far as I’m concerned, retinol and retinoids are a gift from the Heavens, and are the closest thing we’ve come to the Fountain of Youth. I use tretinoin and even with my extremely sensitive skin, besides the first month or so of my skin becoming acclimated to the retinoid (which was not fun), I experience little to no irritation. As long as it’s used safely and introduced slowly, it can be well tolerated by all skin types, and it’s the ingredient that has made the biggest difference in my complexion, hands down.
But if you’d rather test the waters before jumping into buying a prescription grade ingredient like tretinoin, retinol is for you. Retinols are similar to retinoids – they’re both made a vitamin a derivative that is converted into retinoic acid in your skin, they both increase cell turnover, and they both offer benefits like improving skin texture and tone, lightening dark spots, preventing acne, preventing wrinkles, and making the other actives in your skin care regimen work more effectively.
The difference between them, and the reason why one of them is prescription-grade and the other is over the counter, is the concentration. Retinols contain a much, much smaller amount of vitamin a derivative, and are often in a different form making them harder for the skin to convert them into retinoic acid. This makes them work more gradually, makes them better tolerated on sensitive skin, and makes them safe for over-the-counter usage.
If you’re struggling with acne, hyperpigmentation, bumpy texture, or are interested in upping your anti-aging skin care game, retinol might be your cup of tea. And lucky for you, there’s a highly acclaimed serum that contains both retinol and ceramides, so you won’t have to buy two different products.
Dr. Denese HydroShield Ultra Moisturizing Serum contains Dr. Denese’s proprietary hydroshield technology, a technology that offers intense hydration. It’s got a simple formulation that contains only 11 ingredients, but they managed to pack it with a bunch of goodies. Some of them include retinol, ceramides, vitamin E, linoleic acid, glycolipids, and soybean extract.
The serum has a light consistency and is quick to absorb into skin, it doesn’t leave you feeling sticky or oily, and is long-lasting considering you only need a tiny amount to cover your entire face. It’s one of Dr. Denese’s most popular products, and it’s easy to understand why.
6. RNW DER. Concentrate Ceramide Plus
RNW DER. Concentrate Ceramide Plus is another one of my favorite serums on this list, and I’ve repurchased it multiple times. This is the serum I use on days where my skin’s not feeling too hot, aka days after I’ve eaten a ton of sugar or dairy, or after I’ve gotten a bit too enthusiastic with my tretinoin and azelaic acid use. I choose this serum specifically because, out of all the others I’ve tried, it contains the most skin barrier repairing ingredients.
And let me tell you, it does a fantastic job – when I apply it my skin feels almost instantly better, and just a few days of consecutive use will have my skin feeling back to normal after over exfoliation or over exposure to the elements. I love this serum and highly recommended to anyone who suffers from a perpetually damaged skin barrier.
Some of its best skin barrier healing ingredients include five different types of ceramides, eight different types of peptides, niacinamide, glycerin, oat extract, cholesterol, squalene, hyaluronic acid, adenosine, a bunch of different antioxidants, and a ton more. It’s super nourishing, and contains everything your skin needs in a bottle.
It takes the place of probably at least ten different serums, and 10/10 I would recommend to anyone.
7. NEOGEN Probiotics Double Action Serum
Probiotics are an incredible ingredient, particularly for those with sensitive skin, and I incorporate them in my skincare routine as often as I can. Research shows that when they’re applied to the skin they help reactive skin become less sensitive to environmental aggressors via strengthening its microbiome, and they’ve also got potent soothing effects which doesn’t hurt.
NEOGEN’s Probiotics Double Action Serum is an interesting kind of product that you don’t see often – it’s a two in one, meaning there are two different serums, one on each side of the bottle.
One side has NEOGEN’s probiotic serum, a product with tons of ferments in the form of probiotics and prebiotics. Its star ingredient though, is 20% lactobacillus ferment lysate, a type of probiotic that has potent soothing effects. Some of its other ingredients include ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, lactic acid, honey extract, niacinamide, and adenosine.
The other side of the bottle has NEOGEN’s pro barrier action serum, a calming serum designed to help strengthen the skin barrier. It contains ten different kinds of peptides, five types of ceramides, collagen, squalane, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, cholesterol, and a ton of antioxidant plant extracts.
It’s one of the most affordable serums around that contains probiotics, so if you’re interested in adding them into your routine but don’t want to break the bank, this would be a good fit.
8. BE PLAIN Bamboo Hydrating Ampoule
Like PURITO’s Centella Unscented Serum, this ampoule contains ceramides, but the formulation isn’t centered around it. If you want something more hydrating, less moisturizing, and lighter in texture, a serum like either of these would be a perfect fit.
This Hydrating Bamboo Ampoule is made by one of my go-to brands, Be Plain – I use their chamomile toner all the time, it’s extraordinary. They’re the most affordable brand on this list, their products have clean, irritant free formulations, all their products are cruelty free, and they package their goods in biodegradable 100% sugarcane fiber. (which I really like, you gotta love sustainability)
The serum is composed of 80% bamboo water, and is packed with a ton of other great ingredients like multiple types of ceramides, glycerin, allantoin, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and caffeine, which is known for its ability to constrict blood vessels and help reduce inflammation/puffiness.
It’s a very hydrating, watery serum that sinks into the skin almost instantaneously and leaves no residue. Just a quick tip I’ve learned over the years for this serum and others like it – for maximum hydration use two or three applications of very small amounts of product, and then cover with an occlusive moisturizer to prevent transepidermal water loss. I’ve found they work 10 times better this way.
9. Le Mieux Derma Relief Serum
Le Mieux Derma Relief Serum is kind of an imposter. It says it’s a serum, but really it’s more like a facial oil. There’s nothing wrong with that though – it’s not as hydrating as some of the other products on this list but as far as moisturizing capabilities go, it’s got every product on this list beat, hands down. If you’re looking for something highly moisturizing and emollient, this would be a great product for you.
It’s formulated with multiple types of ceramides, squalene, glycolipids, vitamin E, licorice root extract, and 12 different types of botanical oils. These oils include:
- Argan Oil
- Sacha Inchi Oil
- Brazil Nut Oil
- Oat Oil
- Bacaba Oil
- Kukui Nut Oil
- Annato Seed Oil
- Balsam Copaiba Oil
- Macadamia Seed Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Acai Oil
- Olive Oil
I like using this serum on the rare occasion that I decide to shave my face and use it when it’s really, really cold outside, and even my oily skin is starting to feel dry. This is one of the few facial oils that I use, and one of the things that I like most about it is that while it is a combination of a bunch of different oils, it somehow doesn’t feel as heavy as many of the facial oils I’ve tried. It absorbs quicker and doesn’t leave me looking like I just ran a 5k in 90% humidity.
Those are all of my favorite serums and ampoules that are formulated with ceramides. I’m sure there are some that I haven’t tried, so if you love one that I didn’t mention feel free to let me know about it in the comments below!
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I 100% stand behind.
Hi, I’m Ash!
I’m a laid back traveler who loves experiencing new things and spontaneity. My favorite hobbies are hiking, gardening, skincare, and all things tea.
My biggest goal is to spread the word about sustainable travel and show everyone how easy it is to partake in. If you wanna learn more about that or get to know me better, feel free to click here.